Citing ‘call to murder’, French junior minister urges Twitter to suspend Dr Mahathir’s account

Cédric O, the French secretary of state for digital and telecommunications, said he has brought up the matter with managing director of the Twitter office in France.. — Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters
Cédric O, the French secretary of state for digital and telecommunications, said he has brought up the matter with managing director of the Twitter office in France.. — Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — A junior minister of France has called today for social media platform Twitter to suspend Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s account, following a controversial tweet on Muslims and France that is part of a longer thread.

In a post, Cédric O, the French secretary of state for digital and telecommunications, said he has brought up the matter with managing director of the Twitter office in France.

“The account of @chedetofficial must be immediately suspended. If not, @Twitter would be an accomplice to a formal call for murder,” he posted on Twitter, tagging Dr Mahathir’s account.

Earlier today, Twitter had marked the tweet as “glorifying violence”, but kept it intact, citing its policy on keeping tweets of public interest.

The tweet has now been completely removed by Twitter for violating its rules.

Screengrab from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Twitter account.
Screengrab from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Twitter account.

Prior to the action, the tweet saying “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” had received thousands of replies and retweets worldwide, many condemning it.

The remarks were part of a paragraph where Dr Mahathir continued with: “But by and large the Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings.”

Earlier, Dr Mahathir published a blog post suggesting that Muslims “have the right to punish” the French for their alleged wrongs committed against the community, amid escalating violence in France.

Posted just a few hours after a knife attack outside Nice, France that killed three people and injured others, the former prime minister said Muslims also deserve to be angry and a boycott against the republic will not even suffice.

Dr Mahathir’s post came as a knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in the French city of Nice today.

The attack comes while France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty by a man of Chechen origin.

Since Paty’s killing, French officials — backed by many ordinary citizens — have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.

That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.

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